Urban Gardening – Session 6

by Philip Junk

Today’s theoretical part of the session was all about creative commons and shared knowledge on the internet.

We learned, that there are different kinds of creative commons licences, the most common one being the CC-BY-SA. By using this creative common, you allow everyone to copy, edit, distribute and even use your work in a commercial context – as long as they credit you and guarantee the free use of their edited version under CC-BY-SA as well.

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Trip to Copenhagen

by Maria Anat’kay Bermudez Elsinger

Into the wild

We spent the first three days of our Denmark trip near Roskilde. Lucky as we are we found a nice cottage next to the sea. This place is normally used by scouts and thus a great and yet simple place featuring a dry closet, a cold outdoor shower and a couple of mattresses under the roof. It was exactly what we were looking for.

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Urban Gardening – Session 5

Julia Strobl, Carina Sabbagh

Soil Tests and Fertility

To start our session Ralph, Maria and Regina gave us a short heads up of the conference they visited the week before. It was about “animal-aided design”, a revolutionary city concept. The new approach considers the whole life cycle of animals- from birth to reproduction. Its goal is to integrate these solutions in the landscape architecture from the beginning. For instance, the face of a building could be designed for swifts or other bird species. However, caused by the climate change species extinction increases, also in our cities. Animal-aided design is a new approach how to find solutions, combined by Design and nature protection.

Next step was to get a good overview of the different types of soil. There were three different kinds presented to us, which we had to touch, to smell or even to taste. One was pretty stony, one clayey and the third one rather dry and hard to identify.

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Urban Gardening – Session 4


by Leandra and Emily

We started this session with two videos about the importance of soil.  The first video “Let’s talk about soil” was based on facts and taught us, that soil is more than just the ground we walk on. Soil arises by rocks, that are broken by rain and sun. Afterwards it’s formed even more by sun, wind, animals and plants.

Forests and plants protect it from erosion. The soil gets naked and unprotected after harvesting and deforestation. Erosion is not only bad for nature, but also very expensive for men. Land is becoming more valuable and costs even more than before, since it’s getting rare. Because of land grabbing, million hectors of land change their owner each year.

The video also stated that half of the soil will be vanished until 2050. This will lead to hunger crises, since there won’t be enough soil for agriculture left. Following, it will have big consequences for everyday life, too, for example in the supermarket. We have to find ways to apply knowledge to not loose the plan under our feet.

Remeber: Soil is a sensitive living.

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Urban Gardening – Session 3


Since last time we talked about planting, today’s meeting was about the growing of plants.

So what does a plant need to grow? The three most important factors are warmth, light, and  nutrients. At the beginning of their little journey each seed provides enough nutrients for the plant to start growing. Botho called it the „starter pack“. Later the little plant will start using the nutrients supplied by its immediate environment.

The basic nutrients for plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Others are also essential, but in much smaller quantities.

In order for a plant to grow, a certain amount of every nutrient must be available. If one factor is just a little too small, the plant might grow less strong. You can compare it to a barrel. Is only one wooden strip a little too short, the water inside will flow off.

Based on the kind of plants which are growing it is possible to make a guess of the composition of the nutrients. Dandelion for example grows well, where the soil contains a lot of nitrogen. 

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Urban Gardening – Session 2

Guerilla Gardening

Botho started this session with a short introduction to Guerilla Gardening. He defined it as “gardening on spaces that aren´t yours”.

He described multiple motivations to do that:

  • Make use of unused public spaces
  • Make political statements and initiate debate about who should own public space and how it should be used.
  • A friendly way to get media attention.
  • A creative sort of protest

There are of course many other reasons as well – maybe one just wants fresh herbs in front of their house – so we should be aware not to oversimplify this term.

Botho also listed some of the “weapons” Guerilla gardeners use, such as “seed bombs”, which are basically lumps of earth, clay and seeds that can be thrown at places that are hard to reach and initiate growth there.

Propagation by seed

We also talked in length about how to grow plants from seeds and the challenges we might encounter on the way (for instance the seedlings of most plants look very similar in the early stages and are thus hard to distinguish).
All seedlings need three components: water, air and warmness. Beside that each plant has unique seed-starting requirements like light, darkness, heat or cold. If the specific requirements of a species are met, the seedling “knows”, when and how to sprout – the cell division starts and the seedling creates roots. The plant also has a sense of orientation and in which direction to grow (Phototropismus und Geotropismus).


You need nutrient-poor soil (normal soil or from a mole hill. Please not: Don’t use soil that contains turf! The exploitation of swamps for turfs leaves irreparable damage!

How to properly plant a sunflower




First ideas for Short Project 1

Today we talked about our first ideas for Short Project 1. Everybody came up with 3 ideas. Here are two examples:

Tobi cooked leaves to reveal and explore their supply system. He is going to investigate those structures further and find out what we as designers can learn from them.

Jessica did some research on the amazing techniques of birds building their nests. She wants to learn more about the structure and construction process of those nests. This is her first attempt to reconstruct a blackbird’s nest.